February 17, 2015

Two Beginnings of Falsities - One from ignorance of truth, the other from cupidities

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Falsity from ignorance of truth is not so pernicious as falsity from cupidities. For the falsity of ignorance arises either from one's having been so instructed from childhood, or from having been diverted by various occupations so that one has not examined whether what professes to be true is really so, or from not having had much faculty of judging concerning what is true and what is false. The falsities from these sources do not inflict much harm, provided the man has not much confirmed and thus persuaded himself, being incited thereto by some cupidity so as to defend the falsities; for by doing this he would make the cloud of ignorance dense, and turn it into darkness so that he could not see the truth.

But the falsity of cupidities exists when the origin of the falsity is the cupidity or love of self and of the world; as when one seizes upon some point of doctrine and professes it in order to captivate minds and lead them, and explains or perverts the doctrine in favor of self, and confirms it both by reasonings from memory-knowledges, and by the literal sense of the Word. The worship derived from this is profane, however holy it may outwardly appear; for inwardly it is not the worship of the Lord, but the worship of self. Nor does such a man acknowledge anything as true except insofar as he can explain it so as to favor himself. Such worship is that which is signified by "Babel."

But the case is different with those who have been born and brought up in such worship, and who do not know that it is false, and who live in charity. In their ignorance there is innocence, and in their worship there is good from charity.

The profanity in worship is not predicated so much from the worship itself, as from the quality of the man who is in the worship.
(Arcana Coelestia 1295)